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Poster: pjcenedella Date: Jul 29, 2010 9:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: good gd books

was wondering what dead-related books you guys have read and really dug. i'm about half way through 'long strange trip' by dennis mcnally. a really good read for anyone whos interested. goes real in depth into the early years (pre-donna).

also have "a signpost to new space". a bunch of jerry interviews from the early 70s. real interesting.

anybody have any other suggestions?

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 30, 2010 5:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I love these questions . I'll throw one in the ring . Garcia , by the editors of RS ( CR1995 ) . It contains all the interviews with Garcia ever done by the magazine .

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Jul 30, 2010 6:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

That book has some incredible pictures, too.

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Jul 30, 2010 4:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I've read most of them that are out there. Most of them are worth the time IMO. Another good one not yet mentioned is "Dark Star" by Robert Greenfield??. Focuses pretty much on Garcia using interviews with family and friends.

My favorite book is "The Illustrated Trip"
Not so much a "story" book, but more of a coffee table / scrap book sort of thing. It is more a historical timeline of the band. Takes you chronologically thru the day to day, month to month, year to year history of the band as well as other notable happenings of the times.
It is something that you can just pick up and open to anywhere in the book and become quickly immersed.

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Poster: Grateful Rat Date: Jul 31, 2010 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I will second that opinion on the "illustrated".Like the Dead themselves where you can go back many times and find something you missed before. You can also look at it for a few minutes or for a few hours and it will be enjoyable

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Poster: Reade Date: Jul 30, 2010 6:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

'The Dead' by Hank Harrison smokes 'em all IMO.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 31, 2010 11:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

OK, this is a long post, but being jet-lagged and all, and FINALLY having internet of a sort (eg, a cell phone hooked up to a netbook), I'm catching up on forum posts and will babble on a bit.

I've read all or at least most of the books, too, and while I don't have a "favorite" per se, the books I return to the most are McNally's, Phil's, and the interview books like Conversations with the Dead. One big reason is that they have real voices in them. McNally is a good writer (with his own voice) because, of course, he does it for a living; he's the Dead's PR guy, and that's what the book is about. It's an "official" history in a PR sense. So it's hardly warts and all, but it's comprehensive.

In fact, that's the only Dead book I ended up taking on my overseas move (with limited suitcase packing space!). I know I'll have the urge to check things -- being a bit of an obsessive history buff -- and that's got by far the most information.

I respect and appreciate that Phil didn't use a ghostwriter, as a result of which his book has its share of silly phrases (like, "if Mickey were a Native American, his name would be Pushing-the-Envelope") and watch-me-swallow-a-dictionary moments, but it's also more personal. Both reserved and personal, if that makes sense. And it also focuses on the music from a musician's perspective, which in a sense actually gives more insight than any number of fake-seeming, ghostwriter-prompted "insights."

Scully's book is the only warts-and-all one, and it's fascinating for that reason, but it's also so obviously ghostwritten that I tend to take it with a grain of salt. There's a lot in there that's clearly the voice of the writer (a rock journalist), and done for literary effect; I think anyone who reads it thinking it's "really" Rock Scully talking, and not a rock journalist making conscious decisions for literary (and sales) purposes, is fooling themselves. It also completely misses the music. It's as if all that happened was a party, and then it moves into a whole long section of, "Look what great friends I was with Jerry when we were junkies together!" Still, it's an interesting reminder of how much is NOT being said in the other books.

Parrish's book is reasonably warts-and-all, too, but kinder. It's definitely worth a read. He uses a ghostwriter, as I recall, but he doesn't seem to have any vendettas or agendas to push, and the ghostwriter's style isn't as obtrusive. It feels more real than Scully's.

Conversations with the Dead is great because it's, well, full of conversations. Ditto the oral history of Jerry. As you can see, I'm keen on two things -- comprehensiveness and people's own words -- although if anyone wants to hire me as a ghostwriter, I would immediately reverse my stand on that aspect :-)

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jul 31, 2010 11:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

Rock will readily concede that there are some glaring errors and oversights in that book and states that the publisher pressed to get it out in a rush to "cash in" on Jerry's death. He's not particularly proud of parts of it and would like to revise it. He does have an audio version he put out.

http://www.beanbag1.com/scully.html

He's a "neighbor".
http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/archives/2008/2008-Feb-14/a-release-featuring-the-grateful-deads-longtime-manager-invokes-an-era-alive-on-the-walls-of-his-monterey-home/1/@@index

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 31, 2010 12:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I suspect he's gotten a lot of negative backlash from people in the Dead family. I also suspect he's quite right about the publisher pushing it into print. The publisher, editor and ghostwriter undoubtedly chose the way information is stressed and characterized, too, though I'm betting it was mostly written and in the pipeline before Jerry died.

So I do think of it as interesting and revealing, but only if you take it with a grain of salt, read between the lines and are a "savvy reader!"

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 31, 2010 11:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

Hi AR . Hope it went well . 48 hours and back in the forum is impressive . Glad to have you back . From your old door , through to Nepalese customs , how long ? 23 hours is my bid , Bob

D. Mac. does have his own voice , and put simply , is able to write professionally ( obviously ) . I have grown to dislike the book more since the time I first read it . Since then , I've picked it up many times , and skipped around . Two reasons fuel my dislike . First , his constant and clear political biases . I just don't care . Write more about the band , then filling pages with your opinions ( 'official ' history my butt ) . Second , he is in PR mode . He is very good at what he does . The best salespeople close on people who have no clue they just bought something .
I have read almost all the others . I am no longer reading the new ones . I haven't read Parish's , for example . I don't want or care to know biography . Music , art , photography , whatever media , I'm there . The rest is boring .

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 31, 2010 12:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

Twenty-three hours?!? I wish! You lose your bet (with "Bob," apparently). The first leg was 14 hours (to Seoul), followed by a 17-hour layover, then six hours to Kathmandu. So 37 hours. Add to that the time in the airport beforehand and afterwards until we got to our new house, and you have about 43 hours in transit in total.

With kid and dog. (And, fortunately, my husband to help out with said kid and dog.)

I think it's been four days since I last saw any internet/email. It's actually not working here; we have it jerryrigged with a cell phone, LOL. Incidentally, it's about 1:30 a.m. here.

On the books: hey, I'm all for the fly-on-the-wall stuff! That's not necessarly "gossip," that's also what history is all about. What amazes me is how little has come out that really seems like "dirt." That seems to speak to a sense of loyalty on the part of a lot of people, since everyone knows there's no shortage of stuff that could read pretty, ahem, negatively.

Not that I'd expect anything other than PR from McNally; that's his business. And yes, he's very professional. I've actually dealt with him that way. Very smart, and very much the high-level PR guy. There's a lot I'd change in the book (better dates, for instance, whine whine) but it's still more thorough and historically oriented than the others.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2010-07-31 19:45:07

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 31, 2010 12:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

That is a long journey AR .

On DMac . There are parts of that book that are excellent . I like the way he story boarded . The golden ring was there . He could not get out of his own agenda , or the pressure of keeping the secrets .

I am shocked , and very happy , more ' dirt ' hasn't come out on GD .

Bob as in Barker , The Price is Right ?

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jul 31, 2010 1:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

"I am shocked , and very happy , more ' dirt ' hasn't come out on GD."

Membership in Bohemian Grove has its privileges....

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 31, 2010 1:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

Yes , it does .
I wonder if they look the bathroom attendants in the eye after they are done washing up ? Any tippers ?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 31, 2010 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I guess what I'd ideally like to see isn't dirt, but a more thorough and nuanced reporting of the reality. Which would include dirt, but dirt contextualized, with a sense of caring and complexity instead of sensationalizing. I wish Phil would write another version of his book, really writing everything he's seen, but with context and nuance -- and then maybe stick it in the vault for no one to see until, say, everyone is gone or his kids are 40 or whatever the conditions might be. For history's sake.

Of course, I wish Grant had done the same thing with his memoirs ... or Lyman, in his letters published as "With Grant and Meade from the Wilderness to Appomatox" (though a somewhat more comprehensive version did just come out, with some interesting additions. It includes what was edited out in the 1920s when it first went to print.)

Hope you enjoy Gathering of the Vibes, if that hasn't already happened! (I'm fuzzy on times at the moment, LOL.)

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 31, 2010 1:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

You may be a bit loopy , but so I am from last night ( Furthur ) .
Contextualized dirt ? ( I so know what you mean ) , Contextualized dust mites ? That's a thin margin .

Grants memoirs are a benchmark in many ways . However , May 1864 was poor ( talk about PR ). That being the birth of modern warfare , I expected a bit more then basic division or corps orders . I guess if thousands of men ( 5 , 6 , 7 ? ) die in under 30 minutes , maybe you don't want to dig too deeply . Lots of bodies down there .

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jul 30, 2010 7:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

All of the above , plus "Garcia" , by Blair Jackson - he covers the 80's > music more than most . "Conversations with the Dead" by Davis Gans - Bunch of interviews bound together .
Dead related , Bill Graham's Autobio. is pretty interesting .

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jul 30, 2010 7:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

I've read most of the ones mentioned here, but my favorite was actually Blair Jackson's "Garcia : An American Life".

The coffee table book "Illustrated Trip" mentioned earlier is also fun for picking up and starting to read anywhere along the timeline.

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Poster: madmonkmcphee Date: Jul 30, 2010 10:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

The Annotated Lyric book is a lot of fun. Ditto on the Illustrated Trip and the Bill Graham biography is really great.

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Poster: SkyDawg Date: Jul 29, 2010 10:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

Phil's "Searching For The Sound" is a must! Of course the ones you have, "Long Strange Trip" and "A SignpostTo New Space" are essential too!

There are many others, but a couple more I enjoyed reading were Steve Parish's "Home Before Daylight" and Rock Scully's "Living With The Dead".

Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is an essential book too as far as the earliest days of the band and their relationship and place with the Pranksters and the early Acid Tests. Gives you a real taste for those early colorful days.

This post was modified by SkyDawg on 2010-07-30 05:23:24

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Poster: ice9freak Date: Jul 30, 2010 5:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

All of the above are good suggestions in terms of biography and history. Here are three books that depart from standard bio/history/interview format:

Peter Conners, Growing Up Dead. A quick and satisfying read that gives a good look at life on tour in the late '80s/early '90s.

Eric Wybenga, Dead to the Core. Basically one Deadhead's opinion on the best shows of several years, plus all manner of trivia. I just finished this on recommendation of other forum members (thanks guys!) and I was muy, muy impressed. It's certainly opinionated and far from comprehensive, but his enthusiasm is fantastic. You're guaranteed to find a bunch of shows you might otherwise overlook.

David Dodd and Diana Spaulding (editors), The Grateful Dead Reader. Like the title implies, a little bit of everything. Sure, a bit more academic than your average GD publication, but fun to poke around in.

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Poster: barongsong Date: Aug 2, 2010 10:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: good gd books

There is a new one from Sam Cutler that goes in depth on the Altamont to Festival Express era Called "You Can't Always Get What You Want". Lot of other goodies on the Rolling Stones and other bands in there but it's a honest Inside perspective on early Dead that shouldn't be discounted.